tv Washington This Week CSPAN June 3, 2012 6:00am-7:00am EDT
and he could have had a different career. in that respect, he continues to enjoy what is referred to as precedents. he has sacrificed something for the cause. i am not going despite about this. what is interesting about him is -- he is referred to a number of letters. it is difficult to say whether he was supporting him. what does seem to be interesting about this is osama bin laden only accepted al-qaeda in iraq. that was the end of 2004.
it seems this was a mistake. it proved to be a liability. we know that from the documents. i wonder whether osama bin laden knew this was at stake and he stopped doing this. what makes it more intriguing is that the 2010 letter from osama bin laden -- he was reluctant. he made a mistake. if that is the case, why did he
bring on the fold? the letters are open to interpretation. the -- it could be addressed to us some of the maya. it seems to be about osama bin laden's refuses to admit -- this offer is critical of the fact then -- the more we include, this is a sign of god. i have a suspicion it may not be who we think it is. it would not reject the be wrong. >> before i turn it over to the audience, i want to ask you a question about this process.
this 17 documents, reportedly several thousand were captured. it you made the appropriate provisos about how you understand 17 documents and replace them with the context of other stuff that was not released and even then, what do you not see? what is the value of declassifying releasing this information to us? this has come up and there of folks to criticize this process. i am a supporter of this kind of disclosure. we can have a more informed debate. do you think we can do more of this in the future? we facilitate a process where you can understand these kinds of documents? >> the ctc does not have
anything to do with the classification of the documents. we are an academic institute. this is a scholarly process, my not -- not political. the findings of the report make it more than cleared but this is not a political process. the issue of declassifying, we do not know if they have more. they might. it is very difficult for us to be clear on what they have or what they do not have. two options. give us everything or work on it.
i do not deal with this part of the documents. the format -- for my own opinion, my studies have been with mitt believe willis. we know this is referring to several other tax. the the best thing we can do is to do justice. it is very possible the report gets al-qaeda wrong. the report, i hope it gets the document wrong. we did what we think we need to do from an academic perspective. let the documents speak for themselves. what happens in the future is at the heart of the agencies that have documents. for those who do the know much about this, we are purely -- we
teach and research. though we are part of the department of defense, we'll publish -- i am willing to say that my -- i was the lead person on this project. at no point did any of my superiors come to me to say anything. the only thing i heard from the colonel is what do we need to do? i did not have to deal with any bureaucracies. it was purely a dextro process.
what do we we -- what we did do and we did not have the documents, we wanted to release them. we thought it was fitting. that was our decision. nobody put pressure on us. the -- , director is asking, is this feasible? i said yes. the -- we met the deadline. those because i was determined. this was our decision. this was really a world said.
what's the ok. with that a the have a microphone? let's start in the back. state your name and affiliation. >> "new york times" article by president obama's national security council. could you speak about whether been moderate have fear but targeted killings, although he died before al-awlaki, was you fearful? this severely undermined al- qaeda of. >> thank you. i read that report this morning. osama bin laden is very aware of the operational security measures. there was an article about this.
the main highway -- highlight for him was the aerial as bugs. he was careful about the movement of his men. he does not talk about targeting specifically. you give the better -- you see that all forms of security measures were there to insure the safety of his men. . >> can you talk a little bit about the american g hyde --
jihads? is adamant that on the number one on? >> he was an interesting surprise in the documents. he has a letter and i was highly impressed by his arabic. with the exception of two mistakes, his arabic was ok. he is somebody with the political views and frankly, he comes across as a highly coveted it in terms of what al-qaeda is for and how the actions of the g had groups are undermined.
the islamic state of iraq. he comes across seeking dissociation from the islamic state of of iraq. he released the website about all that tax of the pakistan made taliban. in adam the dawn is critical to of media,to it's sort and the alphabet -- translate some english books to osama bin laden. with respect to other american groups, and more lucky does not
seem to have made a great impression on osama bin laden. it seems the leader of aqao suggested to replace himself. response isden's that you are very qualified to do this. i would ask you to give me is some sort of opinion. he says, right mean, each one of you. it sort of your own guns that realization and. he seems to be reluctant to embrace him. a lotes it known theat
pakistan, to the documents had any communication with the pakistan the taliban and also those based in another city? any targeted communication? it would have been a very cautious thing. his very careful about his movement and the movement of his men. i would expect him before he made the move, he seems to have the support of some trusted pakistan brothers in the area. how he got there, but the past nine years, he has been very
careful in terms of his movement. based on reports that i have heard, but on the documents, his wife gave birth -- one of his wives gave birth at the hospital. he does not specify in the documents and i'm not quick to pretend, but i would say he would have taken that adopted. the documents that we have, pakistan is not mentioned. they have been the ones that have been classified. we know that he has been with pakistan taliban. but that does not been that he was inside. we know that he was frustrated,
chastising the leaders of the pakistan taliban. it is like he is failing to islam 101 in the rise. -- in their eyes. from the perspective of al qaeda. going back to your earlier question, does he really lose control? do they seek to build relationships with others, it would not surprise me. it does not mean that -- these are two different things. >> interesting to me, their behavior inside pakistan and the support of the attempt in new
york, there is some hypocrisy there on behalf of the al qaeda leadership. bin laden himself, they have all supported in islamic pakistan state. since 2007, with the red mosque incident. perhaps he did not justify a tax -- he did justify attacks against civilians in the 9/11 attack, and i'm wondering whether and how much the perhaps perfectly -- i am searching for the right word -- perfectly honest analysis provided in these letters perplex a post facto -- reflects a post facto -- post facto justification for what is happening. they are getting beaten up
because of these kind of things and now bin laden and gadahn are trying to explain that in its theological terms. >> i would not call of hypocrisy on part of the leaders. i would so it -- call it their responsibility. there is possible because of the public statements, at least for the past decade, they are calling on them to disobey everyone and pick up on your own terms. it is your individual duty, and some of the public statements, 15-18 is the ideal time to pick up responsibility and so on. you cannot keep calling on the young people to act on their own without the benefit, the discipline that you are putting
into the members of al qaeda. when you see them, when you read the way that they think in times of their operational measures, they are more interested in special quality operations. you can see their own maturity in terms of the ideological influence. their ideology, they know what they're doing. but because you call on people to go and act on their own, and then come back and tell you later on why are things happening the way that they are, of course, what you expect? it is this type of leader, whether bin laden or others, because they are expecting these young people to be selective,
they are in charge of the intellect and the operation and so on. this is where i find their irresponsibility. and now you get the blowback. it is the real blowback for al qaeda. they have inspired all these people in their public statements and now these people are doing it the way they see fit. when al qaeda had its organizational basis, based in afghanistan, and it has its guesthouses and so on, we did see the primary resources. they were interested in discipline. they are interested in how to mount local to hide. they want -- local jihad. they invested in their people, they did. but once they left that based,
there was a vacuum to argue that people rising up around the world. all the sudden groups calling themselves al qaeda, by inspiration, and when other governments around the world stop calling them al qaeda, they are unwittingly in powering them, because these kids in groups relate can never become members of al qaeda. they did not have what it took -- al qaeda would not admit them. into their own, as members of al qaeda, if they have the organizational luxury to do so. >> but they can kill a lot of people along the way and cause a lot of trouble >> absolutely.
but they do not mind killing, but only if it is qualitative. with respect to i/11, the wit testify. you want to quibble but there is economic or civilian, and there is a good reason -- if you say this is an economic target, lies a marketplace not cut economic target. you can certainly go into a legal discussion on that basis. no doubt you will have plenty to criticize about hawkeye that in economic targets. having said that, you want to distinguish between 9/11 and 7/7. right? they are not interested in attacking or soccer matches.
this is what makes you wonder or push you to kind of say, is this the qualitative attack that al qaeda would want? would bin laden be smiling and not? >> let me throw out another question. is the -- do you see differences between bin laden andazawahiri -- most are pragmatic about focusing on qualitative attacks. is that right that strategic perspective is similar, even though they disagree about relationships to affiliate's? >> they have come out in public statements attacking attacks on civilians. not for the sake of killing them.
zahawari is willing to partner with them, whereas bin laden is much more cautious about that groups he wished to partner with. >> how about here in the front? >> this parallel question may be redundant but i am zeroing in on this. the word jihad means struggle. killing someone is against the koran. how would you testify in the of the killing -- justify any of the killing? how's that cause so powerful that you break that prohibition of killing innocent people, including children? >> you are correct that it means
struggle. it is a struggle in terms of spiritual struggles, and there is a technical term for putting. the movement is to hide -- jihad, and when they developed of legal term in warfare, when you fight to kill is different from when you fight for god. christians call the day just for because war is a problem. this is the equivalent of the to hide from the islamic tradition. -- this is the equivalent of jihad from the islamic tradition. they did not believe that they
were killing for the sake of killing. al qaeda sees itself fighting for greater cause. the cause is to make cuts word reign supreme. they see the world to be very imperfect in terms of the rahm leaders. they believe that their own leaders have been corrupt and oppressive and so on. unfortunately the world has been on their side more so -- they did not need a lot of convincing. that is why they call on jihad to embrace something bigger than themselves. that is why -- they do not say get up and fight. just for the sake of fighting. they see themselves as fighting for something noble. it is from their own perspective. others would tell you that this
is not the sort of lawful ji had they would consider. it is not what jihad is about. but from their own perspective, they do not believe that there wrong. that is why bin laden is very careful. he says that they do not violate their oats. -- oaths. you don't want them to be violating their own clothes. it's an interesting distinction between acquired citizenship, but born as a citizen or having a visa. if you are born as an american citizen, you're not taking about not to harm the united states.
you are not taken an oath not to her the united states. but if you have an acquired citizenship, you do taken an oath. that is where he wants to make it known. those system ships are different. what you take an oath, you are bound to comply by that ago. -- by that oath. it is different from the classical and medieval traditions. >> the most dreaded vatican deadly attacks by an american citizen was made in the sun major -- major nissan. it would be interesting to see of bin laden put that in the same category.
>> many have raised that many house have not been declassified. is there more intention to do so? and what they're not that is the case, if you have a sense the people involved in classification come out what the criteria may have been for the release of these files? but not others? >> if you read our report, there is a section and it really describes the act of how received captured battlefield documents. is the long process where everything has been exploited for security intelligence by the government.
only when they want to declassify them do we receive them. i don't have a security clearance. we research and we are the typical academic and a liberal arts school. i wish i had a better answer for you. from our perspective, we have no clue whether they have the 6000 documents, or whether it the 6000 documents include anything of substance. but on the basis of the 17 documents we have read, they suggest that there were other communications during that period that were not classified. are they available to the government? i do not know. from our perspective, i think we
have no knowledge whatsoever. but if you are in the state department in your closer, you might want to ask the dni office. there would be better suited to give you advice there. no clue whatsoever as to what is out there. oh, ok, sorry. you can connect and let me know. >> you mentioned that you had very limited documents. those of us, they had fabricated a lot of stuff. do you suspect in the fabrication in these documents by the u.s. government? that is not very surprising. another question, since you said whether osama bin laden --
can you compare them with our leaders like george bush toward dick cheney, barack obama, how blood thirsty they are? and finally the systems -- i am a naturalized citizen. i had to take an oath. but i consider it being subject to our leaders behaving correctly. >> on the question of fabrication. i don't know how delicate and need to be about this. if they wanted to fabricate evidence, i would have had expected them to know how to translate them better. the report is based on my own reading of the arabic documents.
this would be -- and if they were really wanted to fabricate them, one guy and london, he said, he believed and he is sympathetic with the to heidi -- jihadis and he is an intellectual leader. he suspected that some are true and if they want to fabricate them, why should they put that bin laden is concerned about innocent citizens? certain aspects of the document that are not even of interest to the government. to betray government has someone appalled by indiscriminate attacks against women and children.
gadahn furious with the egyptian government targeting christians in their churches. is that something that you would fabricate? that is my answer about the fabrications. personally i did not -- i do not want to claim to be smart, but but on the basis, fabrication and forgery does not strike me as a possibility. so comparing the u.s. leaders, these are completely different worlds. when u.s. leader and other leaders are working within the government and the paradigms' of the nation state. the leaders are working on their own. and on one level, it can say
that the jihadi leaders have sacrificed more than other leaders. that is why they have more credit in the minds of the general public and more credentials. they are not benefiting from anything. if india stronger credit when you do not have the responsibility to govern. that is why al qaeda in my own mind, they are some of the best critics of injustice. they're the best critics of government. but unfortunately when ever they have their own small area and they do not have much of offer and government. when they are being trusted, they are not living up to the sort of justice that they promise the people, the social
justice. i can see that very strongly. when you put them to the test of government, they fail miserably. as critics, i am on their side for 90% of what they said. there is nothing that you want to condemn them in terms of their critique of global governance and so on. a lot of legitimate grievances. put them to the test and a pale. there's a different -- and they fail. there is a difference between criticizing and governing. >> we have a lot of questions. let's go here and in back there. >> anything in these documents
that could change the tactics and strategy of u.s. counter arisen terrorist -- counter- terrorism efforts? >> i see myself as somebody who studies the jihadis, not combating them. i can assure you that the united states does not want my help to combat them. i study them and analyze them for my own academic curiosity. as an academic and as a personal opinion, i can say the following -- i would not want to be there
and read the fax -- he is below undergraduate in terms of the weight that he is leading the gammon's. frankly the documents being as political, from my perspective as a personal opinion, i do not know about the government's. but the documents speak for themselves and they are much more powerful without doing anything to them, just put them out there. >> you have mentioned that the
17 documents show that there have been criticism of operations that were aimed at civilians in the case of iraq, or major civilian casualties. can you elaborate with respect to any reference about criticism or approval of operations aimed at western civilians? and you mentioned it in new york city incident which criticizes the attacked of breaking the oath, but any comment about the operation itself which targeted civilians? and that quality of the arabic, i am curious about his writing.
>> with respect to bin laden, in one section he refers when he is putting the centralization efforts in 2010, he says that when mistakes happen, you would apologize even at -- even if the victims are killers. he would be prepared to talk about that. gsdshn is upset about christian deaths in egypt. and you also find that being part of it. civilians, they would be
concerned about them. they do not want to tell muslim civilians are non-muslim and -- did not want to kill muslim civilians or non-muslim civilians. but they are not their primary target. when i emphasize about bin laden and his concern about indiscriminate attacks, to not nominate him for a peace award. is more about the fact that is more interested in qualitative attacks. these qualitative that tax need to have their own proper lawful target in his mind. and that target is not the primary target, it is not civilians. sometimes civilians died and we have to answer to god about it. we have our responsibility to it. so there is what he would
consider is sort of local conduct that they comply with. with the arabic, and some instances he disappointed me. i do not to pretend that my arabic is better than bin laden, but he does not use punctuation much. it made me read certain paragraphs. his very economical -- but the other thing is, he was writing for private communication. he would not have needed to work on it. however, however, there is one publicly available letter which is one of the statements released after the arab spring to the people of egypt.
this has been edited by someone. i do not know whether it was bin laden or not. if it was bin laden who edited it, his grammar is very good. is also very modest. he does not want to come across and be more unassuming in the commons that he was making. that letter when it was released, it did not incorporate the changes. it does not mean that zahawari was ignoring him, because many of the changes were simple grammatical. but it may not have reached him. >> right there. >> from the embassy of pakistan. can we say that some of these documents were intentionally left that way?
just to destroy his legacy? >> i seriously doubt that. there's so many things in these documents that would not be in the interest of bin laden to mislead. operational security measures are very sharp. i understand that he would have deleted as many as he could have. that would have been a possibility. but at the end of the day, bin laden was trying to be as involved as the situation permitted him. he was not trying to busy himself and creating a conspiracy for the rest of us.
he is more detail about certain matters. based on my own close readings of these documents had to not think it is a possibility. >> i wanted to ask you and authenticity question. what form did you get the documents in. were there any handwritten letters? what was it like to actually read a letter by bin laden? another there been public statements and videos. to actually have that in your hand. and was there any mention of the afghan taliban and what he -- what use he met them? >> the 17 documents that we
received were all electronic documents. they were electronic in the original, i believe. and i could be proven wrong. is not a standard is formatting for all the letters. some have a different format for mothers. it tells me that they were writing them -- if they were writing them in the government, they would get used just one format. but more importantly, in the content of these letters, they do discuss that they are actually sending these letters and one instance, they talk about memory cards. i am terrible with technology, but the contents of these letters suggested that there were communicated by electronics.
that is one aspect. and how to describe -- like earlier? i normally -- i was able to -- because it was an exciting project and for the rest of the center as well, to be able to working on this project, for my own selfish interests. it was interesting to be part of our of the discourse. and-discourse need to be shaped
about what al qaeda stands for. we need to be driven more by primary sources when we discuss al qaeda then we have a in the past. >> right appear. >> is there was one reference where in one letter, when osama bin laden is telling al qaeda about the security measures of people coming from iran, a safe location for them, and some of them, they may not have been al qaeda, but you look at the very special talent, and they tried to work on them, and others may want to -- it could be, but the afghan taliban, but i suspect
that in reference to the afghan taliban. >> with regard to the world trade center attack, do you think that the workers in the towers were considered to be collateral damage of a symbolic attack or rather essentially legitimate targets as part of economic apparatus and domination of the united states? >> from their perspective, it was an economic target. this is what i was saying earlier. this is where becomes problematic. i can understand but terry and
political targets. i could see how they could really have a clear distinction about the civilian targets. a gross restore is actually a marketplace. i can see how this is driving. they would prefer to have a highly symbolic economic target. the 9/attack -- and 9/11 attack is like that. even if i were to agree with them, but the people on the plane, this is why you would want -- how did you really come
i'm wondering why can understand the difference. >> osama bin laden released a public statement and some of it is from that letter. it tells me that he himself was genuinely pleased with the arab spring. at the end of the day, with the arab spring proved is that the political story that led members of the jihadi was being settled with nonviolence in some areas. we can now talk differently about this but initially at the time when been -- when a saw was writing, he was genuinely pleased. he thought of it as being the most important and formidable event in the modern history.
the program that he put together in that letter which was writn within one week before he was killed was that he was not interested in jihad in this region. he thought was important for afghanistan but in this region, he wanted to direct the attention to more preaching and sort of an intellectual role for al qaeda from that respect. what you said earlier is true and wrong with respect to whether the arabs bring killed al qaeda or not. they were pleased with the arab spring but at the same time the jihadis were spectators. there is something very powerful about what happened during the arab spring that
undermine the al-qaeda narrative. the jihadi is based on three articles. the first one is that our rulers are corrupt, they would say, and oppressive. second, they say the western world is very interested in supporting these dictators and third, the only solution is the jihad. these three articles of faith have been undermined by the arab spring. the rollers are falling, the western countries seem to be supporting the people, not with the dictators, and the third, they are falling not because of violence because of nonviolence. these are important in terms of how the narrative was faced when
the arab spring started. there have been discourses on the jihadi web site. they were taken by surprise initially. they were wondering what it means to have this jihadi identity. they said these were the exceptions. they said libya was not nonviolence. gaddafi did not fall because of non violence. there was an excellent article about the complexity of the situation in syria. there are some kind of jihadi groups that are appearing.
it is looking murkier that the events of the arab spring are no longer of the jihadi class. it is not being replicated everywhere. the jihadis have plenty of time to go between when the world -- if ever the world would look the same way envision it. if things fail, they could easily come back and say we told you so. it is both right and wrong with respect to the arab spring. there's something very powerful about the arab spring and yet it undermines the jihadi narrative. on the operational level in various parts of countries that are undergoing the arab spring
today, is more complicated. >> we have time for one more question. >> i would like to know -- you int -- if he mentioned ksm these documents? >> no, but the documents are really from 2010. no doubt, 2003 document, if they exist, there would be a mention of khalid sheikh mohammed. it is not really unusual. i did not expect to find him in the letters in 2010. the absence of ksm, to my
mind, -- these are private communications related to the situation at the time of his writing or within months of writing them. >> i think we've got to wrap it up there. when is your new piece coming out? >> i believe next week. >> ok, >> it is called "the where, imitators." >> thank you for coming in and thank you very much to the entire team that helped put together this report and for the process of these things and to everybody who dealt with these documents before they get to you. li's release more of them. with that, thank you very much for coming. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012]
>> coming up on c-span, next is "washington journal" then " newsmakers" and later, the british phone hacking investigation with tony blair. coming up next on "washington journal," a round table. on the tuesday wisconsin recall election. then we will talk about the european economy and the views anth